Aogashima Island Travel Blog / Tourism Guide
Mikonoura Beach, Jouman
Once you land on Aogashima, you will always look down on the sea, so on the island, you will never see the sheer cliffs that you can see from a helicopter. And you cannot go down to the shore, so you have to see the sea from a distance though you are on the island. You will have a strange feeling about it. In Aogashima, there are some areas where you can go down under the cliff, and one of them is Mikonoura Beach.
- Mikonoura Beach seen from the helicopter.
The observatory of Mikonoura Beach is a good place which overlooks the direction of Hachijo-jima and it is at the tip of the cape close to walk from the village. Its altitude is about 300m and you cannot see how the area under the cliff is. When you go to Mikonoura Beach, go down the road for 30-40 minutes from the downhill near the observatory.
- Overlooking the direction of Hachijo-jima.
Aogashima is surrounded by the cliff, but there is a small beach at Mikonoura, which used to be the gateway of the island before Sampo Port (Aogashima Port) was completed. However, it did not have port facilities. I heard that the inhabitants of the island made a small boat close to a coming ship and they all pulled up things. But even if they pulled up things on the beach, I do not know how they carried the things up to the top of the cliff. I think it was a tough job. The way down to Mikonoura Beach is basically a mountain path. Beforehand, I was warned that I could not go down to the beach because of collapse, so beyond this point, I have to go ahead at my own risk. Actually, there were some places covered with collapsed soil, but I do not know if it is just because people regularly walk up and down there, but it has been maintained to make it easy to walk.
There is a zigzag mountain path along the vertical cliff. When I wondered if I could really get to the beach, an aluminum temporary staircase appeared in front of me. Well, I see, this can shorten the distance to the beach.
I would like you to imagine from this picture, that the staircase is really scary because you cannot look down. Viewing the shore seen just below me, I am going down step by step. If I lost my footing from the stairs, how far would I fall?
Going down the stairs, it still continues. After this, I went down another staircase and finally, the sea was getting close ahead of me.
- The track of the simplified monorail extends from the hut.
There was something like a hut. It seemed something like a storage warehouse for a simplified monorail. A rusty rail extended from the hut. But when I followed ahead of it with my eyes, there was very regrettable scenery.
- A road was collapsed on the way.
- Due to the road buried by a landslide, I could not walk there.
- A simple alter set at the collapse site.
It is the traces of a large-scaled landslide. There are no routes to avoid it, and even if I go down the cliff walking on the collapse site, I will not possibly be able to climb up the cliff. At that time, 30 minutes has already passed since I started going down the cliff and I was gasping for breath. Considering the time for climbing up the cliff and my strength, I decided to turn back halfway.
Anyway, I was able to over look the shore from the collapse site.
The rough beach with scattered rocks was spreading. Looking closely, there were some big fallen rocks which were placed one above the other there. You will know that the sheer cliff has been shaved off little by little by wind and rain. I feel like I had a glimpse of the harsh natural environment of Aogashima.
Imagining if I fell under the cliff from here, I checked my cellphone connectivity. My cellphone is docomo and it still looked stable, so no matter what, I could call for help (lol). Even when I was at 300m under the cliff, the cellphone connectivity was not blocked off.
"Jouman" is the name of the northernmost place of the island. You can get there when going down the slope from the village. Jouman is located at an altitude of about 200m, but it is a flat area and covered with grass as far as the eye can see.
This large plateau is an invaluable asset to Aogashima where there are few flat areas. This area used to be a candidate site for the heliport to relocate to. Recently, the grassland has been tended with great care as a community farm. But when I visited there, it was only covered with tall grass and I could not see livestocks pastured.
What all the inhabitants of the island say is that Jouman area is the perfect spot to see the starry sky. Actually, there are no lights in Jouman and there is only an incineration plant in the neighborhood. It gets completely dark at night. And the altitude of Jouman area is about 100m lower than that of the village and the area pushes out into the sea, so it has the advantage that it is hardly covered with clouds.
That is why I decided to go to Jouman again that night, with a man who just came to Aogashima for traveling alone that day. And Junko-san working at Business Yado Nakazato drove us to Jouman.
- Under the moon, I appreciated the starry sky.
Unfortunately, the clouds obscured the sky, but the starry sky was spreading all around. It was silent all around and all we could hear was the sound of the grass swaying in the wind and the song of insects. What surprised me the most was that the moonlight was really bright. When I live in the city so far, I was not aware of that, but the moonlight is bright enough to walk outside.
- Visit Day
- 2011/08/07 - 10
- Contents of This Report